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Sources: Casey Abington, 660-909-4783, abington@k-state.edu;
Patricia Ackerman, 785-826-2904, ackerman@k-state.edu;
John Fliter, 785-532-0445, jfliter@k-state.edu;
David Fritchen, 785-532-5964, dfritch@k-state.edu;
Shawna Jordan, 785-532-0151, jordan@k-state.edu;
and Anne K. Phillips, 785-532-2167, annek@k-state.edu
Editor's note: Patricia Ackerman is a resident of Abilene, and Shawna Jordan is the daughter of Carl and Sharon Jordan, Beloit.
News release prepared by: Katie Mayes, 785-532-6415, kmayes@k-state.edu

Thursday, April 15, 2010

K-STATE'S PRESIDENTIAL AWARDS RECOGNIZE SIX FACULTY MEMBERS FOR EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING, ADVISING OR ADMINISTRATION

MANHATTAN -- Six Kansas State University faculty members are receiving a 2010 Presidential Award for their commitment and compassion as teachers, advisers or administrators.

Receiving the Presidential Awards for Undergraduate Teaching Excellence are Patricia Ackerman, associate professor of language arts at K-State at Salina; John Fliter, associate professor of political science; Shawna Jordan, assistant professor of human nutrition; and Casey Abington, graduate teaching assistant in economics.

The Presidential Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising is going to Anne K. Phillips, associate professor of English. David Fritchen, head of the department of architectural engineering and construction science, will receive the Presidential Award for Outstanding Department Head.

The awards, which include a $2,500 honorarium and plaque, are sponsored by the K-State president's office and Curtin Property Co., a real estate development firm with offices in Manhattan and Kansas City. The awards are coordinated by the Kansas State University Foundation.

"The Curtin Property Company, and its Manhattan associates at Georgetown Apartment Homes and Westchester Park, are pleased to join with K-State to reward these highly talented educators," said Chris Curtin, company president. "Their commitment to their students and to Kansas State University is a inspiration to all of us."

"The 2010 Presidential Awards recognize the commitment of these faculty to student success," said Kirk Schulz, K-State president. "We truly appreciate Chris Curtin and the Curtin Property Company's continued support so we can reward their outstanding efforts."

Ackerman joined K-State in 2000 and teaches courses in English, philosophy and public speaking at K-State at Salina. As founder and director of the college's Writing Center, she has engaged with hundreds of students from across disciplines. Ackerman is known for her passion and dedication and is always on the look out for new and effective ways to reach out to students. "My teaching is a continual exploration of active learning strategies designed to engage students in the process of discovery through language," she said.

Ackerman has received K-State at Salina's highest teaching award, the Marchbanks Teaching Excellence Award, in addition to being named K-State at Salina's professor of the year, receiving a Big 12 Fellowship and the Rex McArthur Faculty Fellowship Award. On top of teaching at least four courses each semester, she has served as adviser to K-State at Salina's student newspaper and Creative Writing Alliance. Ackerman earned a bachelor's in English from Marymount College, a master's in liberal studies from Fort Hays State University, and a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from K-State.

For more than 15 years, Fliter has excelled in teaching a wide spectrum of political science courses including U.S. politics, judicial process and constitutional and administrative law. He is known for his zeal in the classroom and for consistently challenging his students to succeed. "My teaching philosophy begins with respect for my students. I create a learning environment where every student is valued and encouraged to contribute to the class," he said. Fliter incorporates current events into his classroom lessons and employs a number of interactive learning activities, including Supreme Court simulations. He has received the William L. Stamey Award for Excellence in Teaching and has been honored by both Mortar Board and Blue Key senior honor societies for excellence in teaching. Fliter has a bachelor's from California State University at Northridge, and a master's and doctorate, both in government and politics, from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Jordan genuinely cares about students and the ways they learn. "Teaching is the same as learning; it is an ongoing process that is sparked by curiosity. As student generations change, my challenge as a teacher is to create the curiosity that sparks the desire to learn," she said. Jordan is known for being demanding but responsive to students. She gets to know the whole student and empowers them to learn, using live demonstrations and techniques in the classroom. Jordan has previously received the Presidential Award for Undergraduate Advising and is director of the athletic training education program in the department of human nutrition. She has a bachelor's in kinesiology with an emphasis in athletic training from K-State, a master's in sports psychology from the University of Kansas and a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from K-State.

Abington teaches large sections of macroeconomics and is known as a challenging and effective teacher. She is noted for her ability to take a subject with an otherwise negative reputation and inspire her students' passion for learning -- even though the majority of her students aren't economics majors. "I use many examples that are enjoyable and relatable to the students. Everyone is more willing and able to learn when they are interested in the subject matter, and this often means being able to connect it to one's own life," Abington said. She also helps train new graduate student instructors. Abington has a bachelor's in finance and a master's with an emphasis in finance, both from the University of Central Missouri. She is expected to earn her doctorate in economics from K-State in May.

Fritchen joined the K-State faculty in 1993 and was appointed head of the department of architectural engineering and construction science in 1998. Since then, both programs in that department have been ranked among the top 10 in the U.S. and enrollment has grown by more than 30 percent. Fritchen has been active in recruiting high quality faculty, including more women and minorities, and has helped develop a sustainability focus within the department. He's been described as a visionary leader and a gifted manager. "In leading the department over the last 11 years, I found that leadership requires communication, confidence and commitment, and is about capturing the imagination and enthusiasm of others and bringing out the best in them both individually and collectively," Fritchen said. In addition, he continues to teach and advise students and consult. He has been recognized by Mortar Board, the senior honor society, and has received multiple other awards. Fritchen has a bachelor's in construction science from K-State and a master's in civil engineering from the University of Washington.

During the 15 years Phillips has been an undergraduate adviser, she's been described as caring, compassionate and responsive. She gets to know each of her advisees from not only an academic standpoint, but a personal one. "I know how important and rewarding it is to serve as an adviser. While I love interacting with the students who enroll in my courses, this other opportunity to teach and help students is compelling. I can't imagine not being an adviser," she said. Phillips is known for taking the time to discover what each student needs and for closely tracking their progress. Aside from her advising duties, Phillips is associate department head and has published in leading journals in the field of children's and adolescent literature. Phillips has received a Commerce Bank Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award and was named a Kappa Delta Pi teacher of the year. She earned a bachelor's in English and theater, and a master's in English, both from the University of Nevada-Reno. She earned her doctorate in English from the University of Connecticut.